Albert Emmett Marien (1911-2002) | University of Illinois Archives

Name: Albert Emmett Marien (1911-2002)

Historical Note:

Albert "Al" Emmett Marien was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1911. He began his undergraduate studies at Washington University (St. Louis) but transferred the University of Illinois in 1931. He graduated with a degree in commerce and law in 1933. In 1942, he earned a masters degree in statistics and marketing at the University of Denver. The following year, he became a professor of Business Administration at Berry College in Rome, Georgia. It was here that Marien began performing on the College's electric carillon. In June 1948, he moved with his family to Champaign, Illinois, where he worked as a principal at Westview Elementary School. Soon after he was hired by the University of Illinois and became an instructor of marketing and advertising.

In 1956, the bell tower of Altgeld Hall was renovated. Marien approached the director of the School of Music, Duane Branigan, about his performance ability. In 1958, Marien became chime master and was performing two fifteen minute noon-hour concerts in Altgeld Tower each week. By 1959, he had persuaded his department to award two graduate assistantships to assist him in performing daily concerts in Altgeld. These assistantships were eventually dissolved and he instead sought the assistance of student volunteers.

Marien served as the University Chimemaster until 1995, when Sue Wood, his assistant, took over for him. In his three decades of service to the University, Marien contributed numerous articles to the American Guild of Carillioneurs. He was also instrumental in raising funds to upgrade the chimes to a full carillon. In 1990 and after raising nearly $500,000 for the upgrade, it was discovered that Altgeld Tower could not support the weight of the new bells. The University decided to construct a free standing campanile on the South Quad instead. Marien died before seeing the campanile constructed.

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